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THE GREEK ANTHOLOGY

 

The Greek Anthology is a huge collection of poems, mostly epigrams, spanning the periods of Greek history from the early classical (5th century BC) to the mid Byzantine (9th century AD). It survived in two manuscripts, the Palatine anthology of the early 10th century, put together by one Konstantinos Kephalas, and the shorter anthology of 1301 of Maximos Planoudes, warped by a determination (particularly iniquitous to Greek love) to omit or misrepresent some material by then deemed insalubrious.

The first page of the Palatine manuscript

Since the rediscovery of the Palatine manuscript in 1606, it has unsurprisingly been more highly regarded than the Planoudean, so Kephalas’s division by subject of his material into fifteen books has usually been followed, as it is here. The additions presented by Planoudes follow as a sixteenth book.

However, Kephalas’s categorisation by subject was carelessly done, besides inevitably being arbitrary when there were competing grounds for grouping poems together. In the case of interest here, that of pederasty, given the obvious importance of the subject to ancient Greeks, a whole book (the 12th) was dedicated to it, and entitled the Μουσα Παιδικη (The Boyish Muse), but this corresponded only very roughly to the real pederastic content of the Anthology. There are 268 poems of pederastic interest by forty named poets and others anonymous in the whole Anthology (which is what is presented on this website), but 45 of these appear in books other than The Boyish Muse, while 35 that appear in the latter are ignored as shedding no light on pederasty.

As Sir Kenneth Dover, the enduringly pre-eminent historian of Greek pederasty wrote, referring to The Garland of Meleager, the part of the Anthology relevant to the classical age that was his subject:

What we find in the Garland […] is often of considerable value when taken in conjunction with allusions in comedy or details in vase-paintings, thanks to the numerous constants […] in the history of Greek culture.[1]
 

Translations

W. R. Paton (1857-1921)

Countless translations into English of selections from The Greek Anthology have been published since 1795, but the only complete translation has been that into prose of the philhellenic Scotsman William Roger Paton for the Loeb Classical Library, published in London and New York in five volumes 1915-18. Fortunately, Paton’s translation is brilliant and accurate even by the high standard set by the Loeb Classical Library, avoiding the obfuscation of homosexual references that generally plagued translations of his time. Accordingly, it is the one followed on this website.

Only because the pederastic content of The Greek Anthology is often, though inaccurately, equated with the twelfth book, The Boyish Muse, mention had better be made of the sole rival translation of that only, by Daryl Hine as Puerilities: Erotic Epigrams of The Greek Anthology (Princeton University Press, 2001). Heavily promoted as a translation into contemporary colloquial verse and therefore supposedly in tune with the original, Hine’s translation is fine if what one wants is to read modern American verse. However, quite apart from the consequent discordant flavour (ancient Greeks were nothing like modern Americans) and the fact that The Boyish Muse doesn’t correspond to the Greek love content of the Anthology,  considering what was inevitably sacrificed in precise meaning to craft such verse, it is nearly useless if one wants to examine in detail how the Greeks saw pederasty.

 

Index of attributed poets

Anonymous or Artemon
Addaios
Agathias Scholastikos
Alkaios
Alpheios of Mytilene
Antipatros of Sidon
Antipatros of Thessalonike
Aratos
Asklepiades of Samos
Automedon
Diodoros
Diokles
Dionysios
Dioskourides
Eratosthenes Scholastikos
Flaccus, Statilius
Fronto
Glaukos
Julius Leonides
Kallimachos
Krinagoras.Philip.Krinagoras
Laureas
Leonidas of Tarentum
Lucian
Lucilius
Marcus Argentarius
Meleagros of Gadara

 

Mnasalkas
Noumenios of Tarsos
Phanias
Philippos
Plato the philosopher
Plato the younger
Polystratos
Rhianos
Rufinus
Simonides
Skythinos
Straton of Sardis

Tudicius Gallus

XII 55, 124.
X 20.
V 278, 302; X 68.
XII 29, 30, 64.
XII 18.
VII 27, 29-30; XII 97.
IX 77.
XII 129.
V 145; XII 17, 36, 75, 105, 161-163.
XII 34.
V 122.
XII 35.
XII 108.
V 54, VII 31; XII 14, 37, 42, 169-171.
V 277.
XII 12, 25-27.
XII 174.
XII 44.
XII 20.
V 6, XII 43, 51, 71, 73, 102, 118, 139, 148, 149, 150, 230.
VII 628.
XII 24.
VII 449; XVI 306, 307.
VI 17.
XI 216.
V 116.
V 208; XII 23, 33, 41, 49, 52, 54, 56, 57, 59, 60, 63, 65, 68, 70, 72, 74, 76, 78, 81, 84-86, 92, 94, 95, 101, 106, 109, 110, 122, 125-128, 133, 141, 144, 154, 157-159, 164, 165, 167, 256.
XII 138.
XII 28.
XII 31.
XI 36.
V 78; VII 99, 100.
IX 751.
XII 91.
XII 38, 58, 93, 121, 142, 146.
V 19, 28.
VII 24, 25; XVI 2, 204.
XII 22, 232.
XI 19, 21, 22, 225; XII Preface, 1-11, 13, 15, 16, 21, 175-229, 231, 234-255, 258.
V 49.

 

Anonymous poets

The thirty-five poems on Greek love by unnamed authors are listed here in groups, arranged according to the webpages to which they have been assigned:

The Garland of Mealeagros

 

Imperial Roman
Byzantine

V 142; VII 714; XII 39, 40, 61, 62, 66, 67, 69, 79, 87, 88, 90, 96, 99, 107, 111, 112, 116, 123, 130, 136, 140, 143, 145, 151, 152, 155, 156, 160.
V 65; XI 52; XII 19; XVI 309.
IX 686.

 

Greek love epigrams arranged by book

Here the Greek love epigrams are listed in the order in which they appear in Paton’s translation, their numbers there being the widely accepted means of referring to them. Attributed authors are given after the numbers, so that each epigram can be found in the above index by author. Books I-IV, VIII and XIII-XV have no Greek love epigrams.

V.  Erotic Epigrams by Various Poets

6 Kallimachos, 19 Rufinus, 28 Rufinus, 49 Tudicius Gallus, 54 Dioskourides, 65 Anon., 78 Plato the philosopher, 116 Marcus Argentarius, 122 Diodoros, 142 Anon., 145 Asklepiades, 142 Anon., 208 Meleagros, 277 Eratosthenes Scholastikos, 278 Agathias Scholastikos, 302 Agathias Scholastikos.

VI.  The Dedicatory Epigrams

17 Lucian.

VII.  Sepulchral Epigrams

24 Simonides, 25 Simonides, 27 Antipatros of Sidon, 29-30 Antipatros of Sidon, 31 Dioskourides, 99-100 Plato the philosopher, 449 Anon., 628 Krinagoras, 714 Anon.

IX.  The Declamatory Epigrams

77 Antipatros of Thessalonike, 686 Anon., 751 Plato the younger.

X.  The Hortatory and Admonitory Epigrams

20 Addaios, 68 Agathias Scholastikos.

XI.  The Convivial and Satirical Epigrams

19 Straton, 21-22 Straton, 36 Philippos, 52 Anon., 216 Lucilius, 225 Straton.

XII.  The Boyish Muse

Preface & 1-11 Straton, 12 Flaccus, 13 Straton, 14 Dioskourides, 15-16 Straton, 17 Asklepiades, 18 Alpheios, 19 Anon., 20 Julius Leonides, 21 Straton, 22 Skythinos, 23 Meleagros, 24 Laureas, 25-27 Statilius Flaccus, 28 Noumenios, 29-30 Alkaios, 31 Phanias, 33 Meleagros, 34 Automedon, 35 Diokles, 36 Asklepiades, 37 Dioskourides, 38 Rhianos, 39-40 Anon., 41 Meleagros, 42 Dioskourides, 43 Kallimachos, 44 Glaukos, 49 Meleagros, 51 Kallimachos, 52 Meleagros, 54 Meleagros, 55 Anon. or Artemon, 56-57 Meleagros, 58 Rhianos, 59-60 Meleagros, 61-62 Anon., 63 Meleagros, 64 Alkaios, 65 Meleagros, 66-67 Anon., 68 Meleagros, 69 Anon., 70 Meleagros, 71 Kallimachos, 72 Meleagros, 73 Kallimachos, 74 Meleagros, 75 Asklepiades, 76 Meleagros, 78 Meleagros, 79 Anon., 81 Meleagros, 84-86 Meleagros, 87-88 Anon., 90 Anon., 91 Polystratos, 92 Meleagros, 93 Rhianos, 94-95 Meleagros, 96 Anon., 97 Antipatros of Sidon,  99 Anon., 101 Meleagros, 102 Kallimachos, 105 Asklepiades, 106 Meleagros, 107 Anon., 108 Dionysios, 109-110 Meleagros, 111-112 Anon., 116 Anon., 118 Kallimachos, 121 Rhianos, 122 Meleagros, 123 Anon., 124 Anon. or Artemon, 125-128 Meleagros, 129 Aratos, 130 Anon., 133 Meleagros, 136 Anon., 138 Mnasalkas, 139 Kallimachos, 140 Anon., 141 Meleagros, 142 Rhianos, 143 Anon., 144 Meleagros, 145 Anon., 146 Rhianos, 148-150 Kallimachos, 151-152 Anon., 154 Meleagros, 155-156 Anon., 157-159 Meleagros, 160 Anon., 161-163 Asklepiades, 164-165 Meleagros, 167 Meleagros, 169-171 Dioskourides, 174 Fronto, 175-229 Straton, 230 Kallimachos, 231 Straton, 232 Skythinos, 234-255 Straton, 256 Meleagros, 258 Straton.

As “The Boyish Muse” was designed to be a selection of pederastic epigrams, an explanation follows of why thirty-five are omitted on this website:

Nos. 53 Meleagros, 82-83 Meleagros, 113-114 Meleagros, 115 Anon., 117 Meleagros, 131 Posedippos, 147 Meleagros, 153 Asklepiades, 168 Poseidippos and 173 Philodemos are omitted because they are plainly concerned with the love of women and do not mention the love of boys. An explanation of why 83, 113, 131 and 173 were added to a book intended for Greek love is that they referred to women using the diminutive forms of their names and these were confused with masculine names.

Nos. 32 Thymokles, 45 Poseidippos, 46 Asklepiades, 47-48 Meleagros, 50 Asklepiades, 77 Asklepiades or Poseidippos, 80 Meleagros, 89 Anon., 98 Posedippos, 100 Anon., 104 Anon., 119 Meleagros, 120 Poseidippos, 132-132a Meleagros, 134 Kallimachos, 135 Asklepiades, 137 Meleagros, 166 Asklepiades and 172 Euenos are omitted because they are concerned with eros in general rather than any particular form of it. A few of Straton’s ninety-eight epigrams about love were also non-specific as to gender, but these are treated here as pederastic since, alone among the poets of The Greek Anthology, he made it clear he was only attracted to boys.

Nos. 233 Fronto and 257 Meleagros were not concerned with eros at all, while 103 Anon. was quite possibly not (and even if it were, not necessarily with pederasty).

XVI.  Epigrams of the Planudean Anthology Not in the Palatine Manuscript

2 Simonides, 204 Simonides, 306-307 Leonidas, 309 Anon.

 

[1] Kenneth Dover, Greek Homosexuality, London: Duckworth, 1978, p. 15.

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